Joe Paterno: The 84-Year-Old Wonder


From the creator of StarBust Football, Inc.

Tuesday marked the 84th birthday of Joseph Vincent Paterno, Penn State’s head football coach of 45 years. Although he struggles to hear these days, as was hilariously evident in a recent phone interview, Paterno remains an icon in college football and is undoubtedly the face of  the Penn State football program.

His resume is well-documented — with 401 career wins, he is the all-time winningest coach in major college football history, and his 24 bowl victories are also a record.  Despite the immense amount of success that JoePa has had in his career, his tenure has not gone without criticism, especially recently. Many around the country have criticized the hall of fame coach for sticking around too long, saying that he is too outdated to still be coaching. Others say that Joe is simply the figurehead of the program and does little of the day-to-day tasks that other head coaches do.

Such criticism has loomed over Paterno and his program for the better part of the past decade, and it’s a shame. Rather than appreciating JoePa for his incredible longevity and success, too many have focused on the negatives that come with having an older head coach. In a college football landscape that views rapid coaching turnover as commonplace, more time should be spent celebrating the career of a living legend that still roams the sidelines as he heads into his mid-eighties. What Paterno has accomplished in his career is simply mind-boggling, and the Nittany Lions boss should be praised accordingly.

How did he celebrate his most recent birthday, you ask? JoePa and his Nittany Lions had not one, but two practices as they prepare to play in the Outback Bowl, against Florida, on New Year’s Day.

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